Looking to bring their Arizona preseason training spell to a positive conclusion, Vancouver Whitecaps FC play their second preseason training match on Friday morning when they meet MLS Western Conference rivals Real Salt Lake at Grande Sports World in Casa Grande, Arizona. Kickoff is set for 10 a.m. PT.
Follow Friday's training match @WhitecapsFC
Martin Rennie’s side made a productive start to their preseason schedule after earning a 1-1 draw with Pacific Northwest rivals Seattle Sounders FC in a 120-minute contest at Grande Sports World. Last season’s top goalscorer Camilo Sanvezzo gave Whitecaps FC a very early lead before Seattle earned a draw with an equalizer from Sounders FC midfielder Servando Carrasco.
The Blue and White have made good progress with their preparations during their 10-day stay in The Grand Canyon State. They will look to conclude this portion of preseason with another good performance versus RSL. Similar to last year’s preseason meeting in Arizona, Whitecaps FC and Salt Lake will play Friday’s training match in two periods of 45 minutes, followed by a third period of 35 minutes. This 125-minute contest will allow both clubs to give their full rosters a period of competitive action, as both coaching staffs continue to assess their players for the coming campaign. Vancouver have a near fully-fit squad, with only striker Etienne Barbara (adductor strain) and goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre (knee) currently on the sidelines.
RSL come into Friday’s training match - their first this preseason - without several of their first-choice players in camp at present. Kyle Beckerman (adductor strain), Nat Borchers (quadricep strain), Will Johnson (adductor strain), Javier Morales (Achilles tendonitis), and Álvaro Saborío (arthroscopic surgery) are all trying to find their way back into action after off-season ailments. There are some familiar faces in camp with the Utah-based outfit. Former Whitecaps FC players Wes Knight and Jonny Steele are on trial with Salt Lake, while RSL striker Cody Arnoux played with Vancouver at the North American second division level in 2010.
This will be the third-straight year that Whitecaps FC and RSL meet in preseason at Grande Sports World. Last year, the ’Caps played their first-ever preseason training match as an MLS club on February 1, 2011, as they defeated Salt Lake 2-1 through goals by Russell Teibert and Terry Dunfield. As a USSF D-2 Pro League side in 2010, the ‘Caps earned a similar 2-1 result over Jason Kreis’ squad after two first-half goals by Marlon James on February 20, 2010.
Friday’s game is the second of seven preseason friendlies that Whitecaps FC will play over the next few weeks. The schedule includes an away encounter versus reigning Canadian Interuniversity Sport champions University of Victoria Vikes on Sunday, February 19, and three matches in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. Rennie’s squad conclude their preseason schedule when they visit his former club in North American Soccer League outfit Carolina RailHawks on Sunday, March 4.
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